(Photo: The Black Thunder coal mine is located in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. Photo courtesy of Ecoflight.)
The Northern Cheyenne land contains coal deposits, and some tribal members say they should be making money from a mining boom. But Bonogofsky points out that the tribe has already enacted some of the nation’s strictest air- and water-quality standards, and other members are not willing to compromise them. She says they are just as concerned about other new ports being planned along the West Coast.
“If these ports get built, then southeastern Montana becomes a sacrifice area for an Asian coal export market. They don’t want their cultural sites destroyed; they don’t want their air quality and their water quality impacted.”
She says some tribe members are also protesting a new rail line proposed for coal shipments that borders their reservation and parallels the Tongue River, linking mines in Wyoming and Montana.
The hearing starts at 4 p.m.; a rally and news conference precede it.